Did You Know?

  • In 2021, 27.8% of UW Food Services purchases were produced on-site, locally-sourced, or are third-party certified for sustainability.
  • UW Food Services also hosts Farm Markets during the Fall harvest season, to connect students and employees with fresh local produce. 
  • The Farm to Campus Fresh program highlights locally sourced options across campus menus Vegan and vegetarian options are available across all residence dining halls!

UW Food Services is committed to buying local to reduce the transportation emissions associated with our food. In fact, some ingredients are as local as our own back yard. The University Club Garden is a Food Services run initiative that supplies our chefs with seasonal produce to use immediately or canned for use throughout the year. Supporting local suppliers helps liven the local economy and ensures the freshness of our ingredients. Our UW Farm Market also provides the UW community with on-campus access to fresh, local produce, honey and baked goods. Look for us this Fall 2023!

Catering Services | uWaterloo Catering ServicesMany food and dining locations across campus remained closed or had limited availability throughout 2021 due to pandemic restrictions. Nonetheless, Food Services continued to support integration of local food into menus across the University, as well as source sustainably certified seafood, coffee, tea, and chocolate. A decrease in overall percentage of local and sustainably sourced food was driven by pandemic changes and is likely to reverse going forward.

Food Services has also continued to expand plant-based options across the campus, with almost half of all meals served in residences typically being vegan or vegetarian. Tracking has been put in place to help measure plant-based options, and approximately 30 per cent of all food sourcing in 2021 was plant-based, by dollar value.

Even though the pandemic limited connections, Food Services continued to build education around sustainable food, launching in March 2022 a plant-based tasting challenge for over 150 students, titled “I can’t believe it’s a plant-based entrée!”

Food Purchases Meeting Target Criteria (% of Total)

Line graph showing data from food purchases meeting target criteria (% of total)

Meet the University mandated Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS) target: By 2025, 40% of all Food Services food and beverage purchases are produced on-site, locally-sourced, or are third-party certified for sustainability.

You can check out the University of Waterloo's 2022 Environmental Sustainability Report for more information on our sustainability initiatives at UW Food Services (See pp. 38-39 here). The report includes case studies, key statistics, and evaluation of progress towards established objectives. This report also maps out the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across various performance indicators, and includes a status update for the Shift: Neutral climate action plan. 

You can also stay in the know by registering for the Sustainability Office’s newsletter here!